Date: 14 December 2012
Fire fighters from the New Zealand Fire Service, Palmerston North City Council and Department of Conservation (DOC) were called upon to manage a fire that threatened the Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve on Sunday 9 December. The blaze is believed to have been started by fireworks let off from the road.
The remains of spent fireworks were found at the fire ignition point
"Fortunately, the fire was put out before any major damage was done, but with a long, dry summer predicted, next time we might not be so lucky," says DOC Biodiversity Programme Manager Nikki Pindur.
Miss Pindur urges people to take care with fire over the summer. "Most wild fires are the result of carelessness, but they put lives at risk, destroy property, and devastate natural areas," she says.
"Fire-fighting is expensive, and you can be held personally liable for the costs of fighting a rural fire if you are proved responsible for causing it," warns Tim Gilbertson, DOC Manawatu Rangitikei Area Manager.
The fire risk is set to increase, with a long, dry summer predicted. The weather plays a major role in how many fires start, how intense they are, how much damage they do, and how difficult they are to extinguish.
To find out about fire rules and fire prevention in rural areas, visit http://www.nrfa.org.nz/Pages/default.aspx. For all fire emergencies dial 111.
Map of the Manawatu Gorge fire:
Manawatu Rangitikei Area Manager (Acting)
Phone +64 6 3509709